Accused Underpants Bomber Remarks Admissible
By Margaret Cronin Fisk and Steve Raphael – Sep 15, 2011 10:13 AM ET
Statements by the man accused of the Christmas 2009 attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane with explosives hidden in his underpants can be introduced by U.S. prosecutors at trial, a judge said.
The defendant, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, said agents improperly questioned him in a hospital while he was under the influence of the painkiller fentanyl and that they failed to read him his rights. He asked U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds to exclude the statements he made to federal agents after being taken into custody.
The U.S. said that Abdulmutallab wasn’t impaired by drugs and that concerns for public safety required agents to question him immediately, before advising him of his rights. Edmunds today agreed, rejecting Abdulmutallab’s motion.
Abdulmutallab was “coherent and knew what he was saying,” Edmunds said at a hearing in federal court in Detroit today. The agents were justified in not telling Abdulmutallab he had the right to remain silent because of national security concerns, she said.
Northwest Airlines Flight 253, carrying 279 passengers and 11 crew members, originated in Amsterdam and was approaching Detroit on Dec. 25, 2009, when Abdulmutallab tried to detonate the explosives, according to prosecutors. He set fire to his clothing and a wall before passengers subdued him, prosecutors said.
Abdulmutallab, a 24-year-old native of Nigeria, faces eight criminal counts, including conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism, attempted murder and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. He has pleaded not guilty and faces a possible life sentence if convicted. His trial is set for Oct. 4.
The case is U.S. v. Abdulmutallab, 10-cr-20005, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit).
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